The central core of the Qing Dynasty military was the eight-banner system. It was Nurhaci’s successor who integrated allied and conquered Mongolian tribes into the system. The eight banners were an important system in the first centuries of Qing’s rule, but their military effectiveness weakened over time.
Nurhaci created the Eight Banner System in 1615, as it existed in the late nineteenth century when they divided the scattered Jurchen tribes in the mountains of Eastern and northern Manchuria. Nurhaci dominated eight groups called Abannersa (Qi) and a number of enterprises (Zuoling). The eight-banner system enabled Nurhaci’s new state to absorb the defeated Jurchen tribe and added businesses that in turn helped reorganize Jurchen society away from petty clan affiliations.
Created by Nurhaci in the early 17th century, the Eight Banners played a crucial role in uniting the fragmented Jurchen people, which was renamed after the conquest of the Ming dynasty by the Qing dynasty Manchu by his son Hong Taiji. When the Mongols and the Han were forced to integrate the growing Qing military establishment into the Mongolian eight-banner, the Han eight-banner was created as the eight-banner of Manchuria. Twenty years later, Taiji gave his people a new name, Amanzhoua (Manchu: Amanjua), and they became the Eight Banner (Manchus) of Baqi (Manzhou).
The Eight Banners were based on tribal divisions and became the main source of the Manchu military organization, with each banner having to gather, support, and train a certain number of troops. The eight banners were regarded as elite troops in the growing Qing military establishment while the rest of the imperial troops were incorporated into the large Standard Green Army.
After the defeat of the Ming Dynasty, the Qing emperors referred to the eight banners in their subsequent military campaigns. The eight banners consisted of three upper banners responsible for the Emperor himself, five lower banners each responsible for an Imperial prince, and eight banners that were under the direct control of the Emperor. The Qing banner system was further developed by the renamed Jurchen and Manchus, who created eight Mongolian banners to reflect the Manchurian banners.
In addition to the many individual Mongols and Han Chinese, the foreign units of Manchu banners were scattered in Manchu banner societies, The biggest differences between the Manchu banners were between the old and the new Manchu, depending on when they joined the Qing cause. The Ancient Manchuks (Afo Manzhou or Manchu Aolda) were the ancestors of those who joined the banner of time (Nurhaci, Hong Taiji) and they descended from Jianzhou and other Jurchen tribal groups.
In the recent reports on the social order of Qing China (1644-1912) the crucial military and administrative roles of the hereditary groups of imperial servants organized in the eight-banner system are linked to the Manchu identity shared by many of the Banner peoples with the Qing imperial family.
The banner system was a military, political and social organization founded in the early 17th century by the Manchus under Nurhaci (1559-1626). It was taken over by the Mongols and Chinese as a military tool during the Manchu conquest of China and served as the backbone of the Qing Empire for more than a century. The system was developed by the Manchu leader Nurhaci who organized his warriors in four companies with 300 men each between 1559 and 1626 (or 1601).
During this time, many Chinese banner companies and provincial garrisons were classified as civilians and placed under the green standard of the army. Banners made up about two percent of China’s population, but tens of thousands of civil servants and a quarter of the rich people’s total annual expenditures were spent maintaining the banner system. During this time, many Chinese and Mongolian banner units were classified as civilians and placed under a “green standard” of the army.
In 1601, Nurhaci reorganized his forces around the basic structure of the banner system, and there is evidence that he did so at the beginning of the decade. The new banners were fought by standard-bearers, which accounted for 24% of the total number of standard units.
At the end of the Ming (1639-1642), following the Battle of Shanhai Pass in 1644 the Han people were incorporated into the new organization of the Manchus. In 1642 the Han army had eight banners (Hanjun Baqi, Han Jun Ba Qi), which form the basis of the early banner system and would later take a unique place in Chinese history because the Han people maintained an important cultural balance between Manchu and Han peoples in their military role and function, and their army had a special group of Han banners (Qi Ren) which inherited the Ming army and formed the bulk of the eight-banner system of the Qing dynasty, the Han soldiers and their families who lived in garrisons differed in the classification of Han civilians, who formed a hereditary profession due to the lifetime of the banners.